Video: Guided robots clash
on the playing fields of Norwich © Jan. 7, 2011, Norwich University Office of Communications

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In October 2010, Norwich University engineering students battled it out to see who could produce the smartest, toughest robot.

Winning team members had to guide their machine across a gap on the plywood playing field, and then return safely. The tough part was avoiding other robots, while preventing them from finishing first. The competition frequently ended in a tangle of spinning gears and metal parts, so successful robots often were kept as clear of the fray as possible.

This event, a nod to the national BattleBots competitions and television program, was a challenging and fun exercise that utilized skills of design, electronics, strategy and organization. Norwich has offered students opportunities to build and learn about robots through coursework that had them designing underwater automatons and a miniature satellite, as well as a student Robotics Club.